Prompted by Lum doing it, lets review my 2010 predictions and see how I do. I’m not sure when I’m going to do my 2011 predictions, but my guess is sometime next week. I’ve not really thought about 2011, but there certainly should be some major activity and plenty of prediction-fodder. On to last year’s predictions!
Two expansions will be released in 2010, each one bringing something as new and interesting as the first two. Best guess is a major enhancement to the economy/trading that brings DF’s economy closer to EVE-levels, and something that really focuses on improving PvE, perhaps expanding the current dungeons and somehow making them better PvE destinations and PvP hotspots. I’m thinking AV uses the center dungeon as an example and gives each region its own great dungeon, with all the other dungeons serving a distinct purpose (chests, specific mobs).
We only got one expansion, HellFreeze, which was delayed from summer to fall, with the next one currently set for Q1 2011, so no points there. The expansion and other patches did however revamp a lot of PvE, and that was significantly improved in 2010. Dungeons also got updated and have indeed become hotspots with more specific purposes. No go on the economy aside from smaller stuff like rare ore from normal nodes.
PvP itself will continue to be refined and balanced, and the specialization system will continue to get fleshed out. The worry of ‘uber’ toons will subside as many reach a highly competitive level, and overall the time to reach that level is decreased thanks to specialization.
Swing and a miss here. Specializations did not get expanded, although stat gains were altered and the HP formula was changed. The first phase of meditation was added, although for 2010, the path to becoming truly viable is still (debatably) not in great shape. The hybrid character still dominates, and 90% of PvP’ers still all use familiar tactics/methods.
Ships and such ARE more common, warhulks not so much (especially the higher-tier ones, and still no one uses them in actual combat. They are mobile cannon batteries to be brought out after combat to tear down a city/stone). The NA server has still not seen a true world war, although sieging and conflict are very common. The overall population seems to be on the rise, and retention is high, with many of the same names from 2010 looking to be big time players in 2011.
I did stay subscribed for all of 2010, although for a few months I was not very active. The Community Publisher Program continues to fund all of my gaming, and I expect that the release of the next expansion will indeed increase sales to second Ferrari levels.
I hope Mythic is given enough resources to release an expansion, one that brings a third faction to the game and basically saves it from getting AutoAssaulted.
Still no third faction, still no hope for WAR. Things did settle down in terms of tech, but 2010 was a year full of revamps and removals rather than strong additions to push WAR forward. At this point I’ve given up hope for WAR, because while it still DOES have that great base to be a fun casual PvP MMO, it’s been a full year and still Mythic has done nothing to impress me or really improve the game. WAR needs massive changes to core systems, not minor tweaks and updates.
World of Warcraft
Cataclysm will eventually be released
Many will be disappointed that not as much of the old content got a makeover as they expected
50/50. Most like what was changed, but some are disappointed that some zones saw little attention. 2/6 capital cities being updated is laughable, although my prediction that vanilla raids being redone for 85s did not happen (right?).
The ‘new shiny’ of Cataclysm will be shorter lived than WotLK
I believe someone reached the cap in WotLK in just over 24 hours, it took someone 5 to cap in Cata. Many are also reporting already sitting at 85 with their guild, and some bloggers have predicted that the overall life of Cata may be shorter than WotLK. Still too early to fully call this one, but it’s looking correct so far.
Blizzard will be focusing on starting up the hype for their next MMO
One highly-touted feature of Cataclysm will ‘fail’ similar to WotLK’s WinterGrasp
Not the case, or too early to call? I’ve not heard of anything really being a disaster though, and I assume I would have by now?
WoW will be even less of an MMO at the end of 2010 than it was in 2009.
I think I nailed this one. Given how linear the questing in new Azeroth is, and how phasing makes group questing more of a hassle than a bonus, WoW truly is less of an MMO (in terms of being a virtual world and all about playing with thousands) than it was pre-Cata. I’ve seen post-Cata WoW called a great single player RPG by more than one WoW blogger so far. WoW players of course don’t care, but that just further drives the point home that most of them are not MMO players to begin with.
Stuff will be released, the AAA stuff will be flooded with tourists, they will leave after a month, and everyone will be wondering why in 2010 no MMO outside of WoW has a million subs. Some will still cling to the believe that WoW really is just that good and something like it will also get millions of subs, more will accept that the MMO market is just not that big. Those in the second group will find a way to profit, those in the first will be unemployed and asking ‘why’.
I mean more or less this is exactly what happened to Aion (late 2009 release, 2010 fade), Champions, Star Trek, and FFXIV (in record time). The games that aimed lower mostly found their niche (though it is sad to hear Fallen Earth is doing just so so), while big studios are giving out play time, going to the minors (F2P), or cutting staff/costs.
I’ll continue to mix in-game reports from DarkFall with opinion posts about the game itself, plus commenting on whatever happens to be going on in the MMO space.
Overall I think 2010 more or less went this way. As expected no other MMO jumped out to pull me away from Darkfall, and the biggest addition to my gaming time is League of Legends, a non-MMO.
Darkfall aside, I feel 2010 was a down year for the genre as a whole, not only in terms of quality titles, but worthwhile blogging topics. There is only so many times you can write about some AAA-aspiring game failing due to poor basics a month after release, or that upcoming AAA-aspiring game is promising the moon and the stars on a 4th, 5th, or 19th pillar.
Games like EVE kept growing, games like EQ1/UO continued to stay alive, and the post-Wow crop of major titles continued to try and differentiate themselves with unique themepark rides.
Luckily 2010 is coming to a close, and 2011 looks to at least be a whole lot more interesting (and hopefully successful).